The Twins entered their three-game series finale against the Royals on Sunday with a three-game winning streak they wanted to extend to four. Bailey Ober was on the mound for his first start since April 28 when he was pulled in the fourth inning with a groin injury. Ober pitched five quality innings in his return allowing only four base runners and one run in his five innings of work.
Royals starter Brady Singer kept the Twins to two hits and one walk to Gilberto Celestino through the Twins first two times through the lineup. The walk to Celestino began the Twins best scoring opportunity all afternoon.
Having only three total base runners through 5 1/3 innings, the Twins had their first opportunity to get runners into scoring position after Celestino’s walk and Luis Arraez’s second hit of the day. Following Arraez’s single, Polanco drew a full count that led to a walk and the Twins having the bases loaded for Max Kepler.
Kepler drew an 0-1 count in his at-bat and connected for a swinging bunt close enough for Royals third baseman Emmanuel Rivera to get the force out at home and keep the Royals lead at 1-0. Gary Sanchez followed up Kepler’s fielder's choice with a fly out to left field that ended the Twins first big chance to score in the game.
Following a failed opportunity to score in the top half of the sixth, the Royals offense took off against Twins reliever Yennier Cano who surrendered five runs off of four hits and two walks and was yanked out of the game after recording only out as the Royals lead extended to 6-0.
Trevor Megill then came into the game for Cano to get the final two outs in the bottom of the sixth making his season and Twins debut. Megill allowed one base runner on a fielder's choice but got the Twins out of the jam on a strike out and flyout to Kepler in deep right field.
In the top of the seventh, the Twins again had an opportunity to score after a Nick Gordon triple that fell a few feet short of clearing the stands. Again, the Twins failed to get Gordon home on the triple and the game was still scoreless going into the top of the eighth.
The Twins bats finally woke up in the top of the eighth as they scored two runs off four straight hits from Celestino, Arraez, Polanco and Kepler. The bats did not stop there in the top of the eighth. Gary Sanchez drove in a run on a sacrifice fly that scored Polanco and after being hitless all game. Kyle Garlick hit a home run off of righty Scott Barlow to bring the Twins back into the game with the score 6-5.
As Celestino began the second round of the lineup in the eighth, he was walked by Barlow to load the bases up for Arraez. Coming into the at-bat 3-4 for the day, Arraez was poised to make the Twins comeback complete. However, that didn’t end up being the case as some questionable strike calls caught Arraez looking to end the Twins eighth-inning run.
Even after a dismal strikeout to Arraez, the Twins came back again in the top of the ninth to threaten with runners on second and third and nobody out for Gary Sanchez. Sanchez worked the count to 2-2 and smacked another sacrifice fly to tie the game at six apiece.
Trevor Larnach was cold at the plate in his return from the IL and continued that in the top of the ninth. There was at least a wild pitch in his at-bat to advance Kepler to third. Garlick followed up with a walk putting runners on the corners with two outs for Gio Urshela’s first at-bat of the afternoon.
Urshela would only need the one at-bat to contribute for the Twins Sunday as he hit an RBI single that scored Max Kepler for the game-winning run.
Jhoan Duran came in for Twins to close out the game in the ninth for his third save opportunity of his young career. Duran completed a one, two, three ninth to give the Twins the win and set their winning streak to four straight.
The Twins return home Monday night to start a seven game home stand and three game series against the cellar dwelling Detroit Tigers. Chris Archer will make the start for the Twins and the Tigers have yet to announce their own starter for Monday night.